NLSA prepares to welcome eight into Hall of Fame
The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association will induct eight new members into its Hall of Fame at its annual awards and induction ceremony in the spring.
Clarence Brooks, Gord Dunphy, Denise Hickey, John Mcgrath, Gerry O’brien, Fred “Butch” Reddy, Philip Ruiz and Nels Wilkins will be inducted April 5 at the Shrine Center in St. John’s.
Clarence (Clar) Brooks
Earning a spot on the Grand Bank Gee Bees senior squad as a 15-year-old in the mid-1950s, Brooks played on the 1960s Grand Bank teams that were named NLSA’S Team of the Decade. In the 1970s, he played a major role in Grand Bank’s four successive trips to the Challenge Cup final.
Dunphy was player, coach and administrator, winning a number of Burin Peninsula and provincial championships. In the 1990s, he coached the St. Lawrence Laurentians to three Challenge Cup titles, a national Challenge Cup bronze medal, was named NLSA coach of the year and had his team named NLSA Team of the Decade for the 1990s. As an executive, he served on a number of NLSA committees, including Challenge Cup commissioner.
Hickey also served as a player, coach and administrator. As a player, she represented her province at the Atlantic championships, club nationals and Canada Summer Games. One of the premier defenders in both Jubilee Trophy and Atlantic intercollegiate play, she is a former winner of MVP, top defender and most spirited player awards in Jubilee Trophy. Twice she was an AUS all-star. She has served as NLSA’S VP senior women, and over the past eight years, has coached provincial and club youth teams.
Mcgrath enjoyed a lengthy career as a soccer administrator, including NLSA president. Some of the initiatives saw the reorganization of the divisional structure, changes to the structure of Challenge Cup and the establishment of a masters league. Other initiatives saw increased participation in youth soccer, higher player registration, securing of major corporate sponsorship and the establishment of the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Hall of Fame.
O’brien enjoyed a lengthy career, playing 30 years in Challenge Cup, intermediate and masters, and winning a top defender award and all-star selections at the Challenge Cup level. He’s a former Challenge Cup player-coach with Mount Pearl and later Mount Pearl Intermediates.
Fred “Butch” Reddy
Reddy was a goalkeeper for the Holy Cross Crusaders, winning numerous St. John’s junior and senior championships. In 1973, he was a member of the Holy Cross team that won the first Challenge Cup of the modern era. With his senior days over, Reddy played the next 15 years with the Holy Cross Masters. He was also a long-time executive on the St. John’s Soccer Association, and coached for many years in minor, female and Challenge Cup.
Hailing from Stephenville, Ruiz played all-star minor and Canada Games before enjoying an all-star career at Mount Allison University, which included an AUS MVP award. After university, Ruiz played Challenge Cup soccer in Nova Scotia, and in 1991 tried out for the Nova Scotia Clippers of the newly-formed CSL professional league. His selection to the team made him the first player from the Newfoundland and Labrador to sign and play for a professional soccer team, according to the NLSA.
Wilkins had a brilliant career as an official and player. A former keeper in the St. John’s senior league with Gonzaga, Wilkins started officiating in 1980. He worked more than a dozen provincial Challenge Cup finals, and was invited on a number of occasions to officiate at the national Challenge Cup championships. In 1995, Wilkins was presented with the Canadian Soccer Association’s Award of Merit.